Tour of the Basque Country 2019 Route stage 5: Arrigorriaga - Sanctuary of Arrate
Friday 12 April - The penultimate stage in the 'Itzulia Basque Country' supposedly is the tonic to detonate the fireworks. Almost 150 kilometres and seven Basque mountains before finishing near the iconic Sanctuary of Arrate.
It is the ninth consecutive Sanctuary of Arrate finish in the Tour of the Basque Country. Last year’s Enric Mas succeeded Alejandro Valverde (2017), Diego Rosa (2016), Joaquim Rodríguez (2015, 2012), Wout Poels (2014), Nairo Quintana 2013) and Samuel Sánchez (2011, 2010).
Another big gun is supposed to add his name to the list. The route takes in a string of demanding climbs. The first one is 4.1 kilometres at 5.7% and leads to Morga. The riders move through the village at kilometre 17 before a relatively calm phase sets in, because it is only after 50 kilometres that the next KOM climb appears. A 2.5 kilometres climb at 3.2% takes the riders to Natxitua and right after the descent it goes back up again on the Bedarona: 2.1 kilometres at 7.4%.
Another phase with non-classified climbs doesn’t mean the route is flat. Three uphills lead to the next KOM climb, which is 2.8 kilometres long and irregular. Following an easy opening the second kilometre goes up at 11%. The Arribinieta levels out to 6.5% in the last 800 metres, while the average gradient from base to top sits at 7.4%.
The tone is set as the next climb is another toil with double digit ramps. The Izua is 3 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at 12.7%. At 8.1%, the first 400 metres are relatively easy before the riders hit a Wall. While its steepest ramp is 24%, the next 2 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 16% before the Izua levels out and even includes a short stretch downhill.
The penultimate climb is not as terrifying. The Trabakua is 6 kilometres at 4.4% and the build-up is gradual. Shallow gradients at the base until the toughest section begins after 3.5 kilometres, but there are no double digit gradients. A flying descent leads to Eibar before the riders enter the closing climb.
The Usartza is a 5 kilometres climb at 8.8%. The summit is not the finish line as the route continues for 2 more undulating kilometres. The last 600 metres are downhill so expect the finish to be at breakneck speeds.
Another interesting read: results/race report 5th stage 2019 Tour of the Basque Country.
Tour of the Basque Country 2019 stage 5: route, profile, more
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